Officer Elmer A. Swanson

Officer Elmer A. Swanson

Metropolitan Police Department, District of Columbia

End of Watch Tuesday, July 5, 1932

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Elmer A. Swanson

Officer Elmer Swanson was shot and killed while responding to a home at 508 First Street, SE, where a deranged man was firing a gun.

During the incident, over 100 rounds were fired by the suspect from the home. Over 500 policemen and U.S. Marines responded to the incident and engaged in the shootout. At one point, the suspect ran from the house when it was filled with tear gas and opened fire, striking Officer Swanson in the head. Officer Swanson was taken to Providence Hospital, where he succumbed to the wound.

The man ran back into the home without being struck by the return fire. The man was eventually apprehended after being wounded in the arm. After being arrested, he stated he only wanted to have some fun. He was indicted for first-degree murder and found insane.

Officer Swanson had served with the Metropolitan Police Department for only three months and was assigned to the Ninth Precinct. He was survived by his wife and four children. One of his sons served as a Police Officer in Minnesota.

He is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Suitland, Maryland.


  • Age 30
  • Tour 3 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Apprehended

EDP, weapons violation

Most Recent Reflection

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Elmer A. Swanson was my grandfather, our Mom was his eldest child.
I am so grateful for the kind words you have all left here, it means so much to me!

Mary Jo Rivard
Granddaughter to Elmer A. Swanson

June 18, 2023

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